Odd, But Interesting

Gregg Easterbrook of the New Republic writes:

MOSCOW LOST THE COLD WAR, BUT DREAMS OF WINNING THE GLOBAL WARMING WAR: Why won’t Russia ratify the Kyoto Treaty? It would seem very much in Moscow’s interest to do so.

The United States has dropped out of Kyoto negotiations, but most other Western nations remain in. Russia now holds the swing vote on whether Kyoto goes into effect for most Western nations except the United States. If Kyoto actually did take effect, requiring most Western nations to make dramatic reductions in greenhouse gases, Europe would inevitably end up involved in “carbon trading” with Moscow. The European Union would invest in modernization of Russian industry, in order to reduce Russian greenhouse-gas emissions; then Europe would buy the reduction credits so created. The European Union also would reduce its use of greenhouse-offender coal, substituting lower-carbon natural gas from Russia. Thus it seems Moscow and its industries would come out a winner under a Kyoto regime. Yet the Duma has been resisting ratification of Kyoto for two years, and yesterday, Vladimir Putin said he is also opposed.

Possible reason for Russian resistance–Moscow wants global warming! Much of the world might suffer, but the freezing former Soviet states might be better off. The agricultural region of Russia might expand significantly, while Siberia became reasonably habitable. If Siberia and other ice regions became reasonably habitable, global warming would effectively be expanding Russian territory by climate change, not war. And what government doesn’t want more territory?

Sidelight: Why does Germany favor the Kyoto Treaty? Not so much for greenhouse reasons but so that Berlin can shut down the country’s subsidized, politically powerful coal-mining industry. German leaders have wanted for decades to cut subsidies for coal production–even the presumably pro-labor current government wants this–because coal mined in Germany costs more than twice the world price, mainly owing to featherbedded work rules. Every move to reign in the German coal industry has been greeted by public howls. But if Berlin could blame a coal shut-down on an international obligation, and polls show the Kyoto accord is very popular among Germans, the equation would change.

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The sidelight is even odder and even more interesting. Hmm.

13 thoughts on “Odd, But Interesting

  1. Interestingly enough, it was the Americans who introduced the idea of carbon trading. European intransigence in adopting the concept as a part of the Kyoto Treaty was one of the main reasons Clinton did not push to get it pass Congress, where it died with a vote of 99-0.

    Of course, as soon as Bush declared that he wouldn’t continue pursuing it, the French announced a “new” plan: why not start trading carbon emissions, thereby taking some of the pressure off of economic growth? And, voila, a French “initiative” was born… and ultimately accepted…

    Putin’s decision might be based on the following consideration: Russia needs to have access to expanding energy markets, not in Europe – but in America. It is the American market, again, that matters – and adding pressure on the US to adopt the Kyoto Treaty would not be in Russia’s interest.

    In any case, I think the Europeans should be bearing the majority of the costs for worldwide environmental cleanup, having been such long-time freeloaders on almost every other aspect of societal development.

  2. he French announced a “new” plan: why not start trading carbon emissions, thereby taking some of the pressure off of economic growth? And, voila, a French “initiative” was born… and ultimately accepted…

    Nice spin.
    The reason why the French poposed it, was to ensure that the Kyote treaty was accepted by enough countries, even without the US. It was touch and go with Russia and Japan, and to ensure their agreement, this deal was made. The idea being that a flawed enviromental agrement was better than no agreement.

    In any case, I think the Europeans should be bearing the majority of the costs for worldwide environmental cleanup, having been such long-time freeloaders on almost every other aspect of societal development

    What the f***? So the fact that the major contributors to the 3rd World are European, and that a majority of UN peacekeeping missions, as well as humanitarian missions, are based on troops/people from European countries, makes Europeans freeloaders?
    The fact that much research into better enviroment and better medicine is financed by Europeans, is apparently also irrelevant.

  3. Kristjan:

    “The reason why the French poposed it, was to ensure that the Kyote treaty was accepted by enough countries, even without the US….”

    Not true. France’s own economists came to the conclusion that the carbon exchange idea was a good idea, strictly for economic reasons.

    “…It was touch and go with Russia and Japan, and to ensure their agreement, this deal was made….”

    And it’s mostly gone now, given Russia’s refusal to set a date.

    “…The idea being that a flawed enviromental agrement was better than no agreement…..”

    That much is true. The French maintained that should the Treaty targets not be met, adjustments can be made. The Americans maintainted that that defeats the purpose of a treaty to begin with. Most likely, the French had as much intention to keep to the Treaty as they have to the 3% budget deal… – in other words, none.

    “What the f***? So the fact that the major contributors to the 3rd World are European…”

    Not true. The American economy pumps more wealth to the developing world than the European does. In fact, hundreds of millions of Chinese alone have been lifted out of poverty, thanks to the American worker-consumer.

    “…and that a majority of UN peacekeeping missions…”

    Not true again. 37,000 US troops continue to serve as peacekeepers in Korea, technically under UN auspices.

    “…as well as humanitarian missions, are based on troops/people from European countries,”

    Psssst! Not true. US troops/people are in the majority in Iraq, serving out – for all intensive purposes – a humanitarian mission incomparable to what Europeans have ever dared. And this is in addition to Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia, and, come to think of it, Europe, – for the past 4 decades, when the presence of US troops ensured the peace with the Soviet Union …

    “…makes Europeans freeloaders?”

    True. It makes the Europeans freeloaders. Not to mention a wholly parasitic continental entity, sucking off of the labor and accomplishments of the American worker-consumer.

    “The fact that much research into better enviroment and better medicine is financed by Europeans”

    Not true. America is the leader in scientific and biomedical research, annually pouring billions of dollars into said research, – wholly funded, again, by the financial system fundamentally maintained by the American worker-consumer.

    “…is apparently also irrelevant.”

    Now you’ve got it. Europe is quite irrelevant.

  4. “Not true. The American economy pumps more wealth to the developing world than the European does. In fact, hundreds of millions of Chinese alone have been lifted out of poverty, thanks to the American worker-consumer.”

    While Americans do by from a wide range of countries, I was talking foreign aid here. Which is heavily dominated by Europeans (try to check the list of the major contributors to the 3rd world, both in total numbers and in percentage of the GNP).

    “Not true again. 37,000 US troops continue to serve as peacekeepers in Korea, technically under UN auspices.”

    So the fact that the US has a large number of troops in one mission makes it false that a majority of UN peacekeeping missions are based on European forces (both armed and civilian)? We are talking numbers of missions here, not length of missions or number of troops in a specific mission.

    “US troops/people are in the majority in Iraq, serving out – for all intensive purposes – a humanitarian mission incomparable to what Europeans have ever dared. And this is in addition to Afghanistan, and Yugoslavia, and, come to think of it, Europe, – for the past 4 decades, when the presence of US troops ensured the peace with the Soviet Union

    Again you are talking about a few missions. I am talking the total numbers of missions. I might also point out that Iraq is by no means an UN mission, nor is it a peacekeeping mission. And if you didn’t notice it, there were, and still are, quite a few other countries involved in Afghanistan, like there were, and still are, quite a few Europeans in the former Yugoslavia.

  5. Ah, European foreign aid, that great boondoggle. Millions have been spent, but little benefit has been seen, as most of it goes for the support of corrupt dictatorships and cronyism. But it does give European social democrats at least one return: it makes them feel good about themselves.

    It has always been America’s foreign policy to give less aid, but more access to American markets. Certain countries respond to this better than others, but the cumulative effect is far greater than anything Europe could ever achieve. As the old parable goes, give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day; teach him to fish, and he eats a lifetime.

    As to your backtracking on the numbers of peacekeepers, the fact still remains that American troops committed to peacekeeping still outnumber those of the Europeans. And I would take issue, – like most Americans – on the imprimatur of the UN in deciding the “legitimacy” of a peacekeeping mission. Two thirds of the members of the UN are non-democratic governments – probably most of them supported by European crony aid.

    But to get back to the original thread, Europeans should bear the brunt of the costs for environmental cleanup, by investing heavily in new pollution control technologies. This is one area where Europeans could really outshine themselves, – instead of waiting for Americans to do all of the heavy work.

    But most likely that will never happen, since Europeans are followers, not leaders.

  6. “Ah, European foreign aid, that great boondoggle. Millions have been spent, but little benefit has been seen,”

    A very doubtful claim.

    “as most of it goes for the support of corrupt dictatorships and cronyism.”

    Proof please.

    “It has always been America’s foreign policy to give less aid, but more access to American markets. Certain countries respond to this better than others, but the cumulative effect is far greater than anything Europe could ever achieve”

    Proof please.

    “As to your backtracking on the numbers of peacekeepers, the fact still remains that American troops committed to peacekeeping still outnumber those of the Europeans.”

    I never said anything about the numbers of peacekeepers. I said, and I quote: “a majority of UN peacekeeping missions, as well as humanitarian missions, are based on troops/people from European countries” – where did I talk about which continent committed most troops?

    “And I would take issue, – like most Americans – on the imprimatur of the UN in deciding the “legitimacy” of a peacekeeping mission.”

    What does this have to do with anything I said?
    I guess you’re refering to my comment about Iraq being neither a peackeeping nor a UN mission.What I said was (again I quote):
    “I might also point out that Iraq is by no means an UN mission, nor is it a peacekeeping mission.”

    To this I’d add that I should damn well hope the UN decides which missions are approved by them, and that no-one have ever claimed that the war into Iraq was a peacekeeping mission. Are you willing to try to spin reasoning for the war in that direction?

    “Europeans should bear the brunt of the costs for environmental cleanup, by investing heavily in new pollution control technologies.”

    I disagree with the first part of this sentence, but agree that investment in new pollution control technologies are a good idea.

    “This is one area where Europeans could really outshine themselves, – instead of waiting for Americans to do all of the heavy work.”

    I doubt that anyone expects the Americans to dot he heavy work when it comes to the enviroment. It’s hardly like the US has the best of track-record on this issue. And the current US president has hardly helped matters along.

    “But most likely that will never happen, since Europeans are followers, not leaders.”

    Oh, please – grow up, and try to not be quite such an idiot. How on earth am I supposed to take you serious when you make these kind of remarks?

  7. Well, well, I seem to have raised your ire. The truth hurts, doesn’t it?

    In any case, all of your arguments can be easily defeated. But the only one that I really care about is the fact that Europe should bear the brunt of the costs for environmental clean-up, as Europe has freeloaded off of the United States for far too long.

  8. Europe has not free-loaded on the USA. It is on the contrary the USA that have freeloaded on Europe, and from its inception.Without the whole European development the USA would not exist.

    The USA have often helped the criminal and corrupt politicians where-and-when-ever they found them, be it in Europe or Latin-America, Africa or Asia.

    If you do not like Europe, we are not obligating to come here.

    DSW

  9. Antoni, it is European exports to the American worker-consumer that guarantees your lifestyle. America has had a trade deficit vis-a-vis Europe for quite some time now. This amounts to an immense transfer of wealth to Europe, which ultimately winds up funding the European welfare states.

    Europe has been freeloading on the backs of the American worker-consumer, precisely because the American worker-consumer doesn’t have the same welfare protections as Europe does: in other words, it’s pure exploitation. Just be glad that Americans have the after-tax money to spend on European exports, because without that market, the European economy would collapse.

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